No. 6 Penn State Altoona softball earned a 5-1 victory over No. 3 Alvernia University in the opening game of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Championship Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Marywood University.
With the win, the Lady Lions (18-17) will advance to the next round of the tournament and are guaranteed at least two more games, as the bracket goes into double-elimination format. The next round is hosted by Arcadia University this Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14.
Penn State Altoona will take on either No. 2 Stockton University or No. 7 College of New Rochelle on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The Lady Lions will play again later that day, regardless of a win or a loss.
Kate Burge (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) led her team to a win on Wednesday with a big start in the circle, improving her season record to 16-8 in a complete game effort. In seven innings, she surrendered just five hits, one run, and one walk while striking out six.
Kelsey Bristol (Troy, PA/Troy) batted 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Haley Giedroc (Howard, PA/Bald Eagle) and Abby Showers (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) were each 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Penn State Altoona grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Bristol led off with a single to second base, moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a throwing error.
The Lady Lions added to their lead in the top of the fifth inning, putting four more runs on the board. Lauren O’Donnell (Beccaria, PA/Moshannon Valley) led off the inning with a bunt single and later came around to score on an error. Later, Burge helped her own cause by drawing a bases loaded walk to make it 3-0. An RBI single from Jessica Willits (Jersey Shore, PA/Jersey Shore) and a run-scoring groundout by Morgan Brumbaugh (James Creek, PA/Tussey Mountain) upped Penn State Altoona’s lead to 5-0.
Alvernia (19-16) made some noise in the bottom of the seventh, breaking up the shutout and threatening a comeback. Bernadette Carey’s RBI single to second put the Crusaders on the board. Alvernia proceeded to load the bases with one out, but Burge induced a lineout double play to end the game.